As we say, they do not call us Raincouver for no reason! Vancouver is indeed famous for its rainy weather, although summers here are dry. Living in Vancouver prompted us to learn many different ways to capture the rain and to become rain photography experts (as proclaimed by us). Here are several exciting ways to photograph the rain in all its lush and refreshing glory (you can tell we have been under the dry spell for a while).

1. Explore the city at night. Rain looks stunning at night. During the day urban environment may look gray and washed out (literally). However, at night the artificial light adds a colourful pallet to the scene.

Gastown
Gastown looking fabulous at night.

2. Shoot from a distance.  Landscape (or cityscape) photography in the rain does not sound very glamorous. Indeed, you will probably get soaked. However, shooting from a distance allows you to capture the weather and the stormy epic sky that accompanies the rain.

Crab Park
Looking at the rain on the North Shore from Crab Park.

3. Detail shots. Look for small detail while shooting in the rain. Droplets make a delicate and beautiful photo subject. Lower your Aperture to f/3.5 or lower and get close to your subject. Natural elements such as flowers and leaves look great when covered in water droplets.

DOF
Low aperture and shallow depth of field.
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Aperture: f/1.8.

4. Rain as texture. Look for windows covered in droplets or other glass elements and focus on the droplets leaving the background blurry. You can use Manual Focus for this, and we also recommend low Aperture (e.g. f/1.8). Best part — you can do this indoors! Just watch out for unwanted reflections of your camera. If the reflection is visible, try getting closer and adjusting the light.

Looking through the glass. Aperture set at f/1.8.

5. B&W filters. As we mentioned earlier, rainy weather often means lack of colour in the surroundings. If everything looks gray already, why not take it all the way to black and white to emphasize the contrast and reflections!

Bicycles always make great models.

6. Include a silhouette with an umbrella. Incorporate people into your shots to give the viewer a sense of scale and presence. Look for people carrying umbrellas to emphasize the rain. Although you do not see the rain on the picture below, you know it is there pouring over the man’s umbrella.

Where is everybody else?

7. Fast Shutter. Use fast shutter to freeze rain droplets in time. On the picture below we used 1/400s shutter but you should definitely try even faster shutters (e.g. 1/2000s). The trick here is to find a dark background in order to make the rain stand out. If you shoot against the sky or a light-coloured building you will not be able to notice the individual droplets.

Fast shutter
Art Gallery shot at 1/400s shutter speed.

8. Incorporate Reflections. Reflections add character to the scene especially if you shoot at a low angle. Sometimes the puddles are big enough to reflect several buildings or trees. In cases like that focus on what is inside the puddle rather than on the surroundings to create an abstract-looking shot.

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9. Find Colour in Nature. While the buildings tend to look grayer in the rain, the natural environment looks more lush and colourful. In fact shooting nature in the midday Sun is more difficult due to a high contrast between light and shade.

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10. Seek Cover. Last but not least! Shoot from under a cover. Even if your camera is weatherproof, your lens might not be. Instead of trying to juggle a camera and an umbrella, you can hide under the awnings and trees in the search of your perfect rain shot.

These guys got the right idea!

Now when you head out into the rain, remember the tips we have shared with you, and take exciting rain pictures. Do not forget to grab a warm drink in between your shoots!